The author is Chen Lizra, an Israeli dancer and entrepreneur now living in Vancouver BC. If you are contemplating a tour to Cuba that includes a very up close encounter with Cuban culture, this is a book that will whisk you there in the most engaging way.
The book has its roots half way around the world. Studying Cuban dance in Israel, Chen moved to Canada to work as an animator. In Toronto she shared her love of Cuban dance in the city’s enthusiastic Cuban/Canadian community.
Shifting away from animation to pursue other business studies, Chen moved to Vancouver bringing along her love of Cuban dance. In 2005 Chen felt the need to learn even more from the source and headed to Cuba for two weeks. There she realized how much there was to learn so returned several times while continuing to teach authentic Cuban dance in Vancouver. People loved it!!
Chen constantly extended her visits – a month, the whole summer and then in 2008 she started leading tours sharing what she had learned after so many visits. The goal was to help visitors with both the excitement and subtlety of Cuban life as she had discovered it. My Seductive Cuba mixes that fascination and affection for the country with the practical information Chen needed to make her trips unfold.
Chen has a passion for detail, perhaps even an obsession. “I have kept every single brochure and receipt from Cuba like the bus schedule on page 206. That schedule was published in 2008, but you can’t find it anywhere today. I am nut for detail.”
“I dive in head first and the results – predictable or extraordinary – make up the pages of my book. The title My Seductive Cuba came from personal experience. In Eat, Pray, Love author, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about each country having a single word that captures its essence. For me, Cuba is ‘seductive.’
“Seduction is part of daily life in Cuba, reflected in dance, of course. But in daily life, at the restaurant or at the shop, seduction is Cuba’s attitude. You can flirt your way to anything in Cuba because it’s a way of life”.
The book, then, is a sublime mixture. “It’s like making a salad – lettuce, tomatoes and dressing,” Chen explains. The book blends Chen’s personal story with practical information. The personal story puts the information in context.
“ I provide information about where to go and what to do but by teaching how Cubans think and how life unfolds in Cuba so readers can understand and create the experience they want. Everything from navigating the Internet to learning about Santeria, a traditional Cuban religion with its roots in the 16th century ”
In Cuba, romance in a dance club and the details of car rental are totally compatible, according to Chen’s book. “In my life I have had a broad experience of experiences and I brought aspects of everything to My Seductive Cuba. I found my own balance by bringing stories to life.”
My Seductive Cuba is published in Canada. You can purchase it via the VisitCuba Bookshelf. Just click here. It’s also available in selected bookstores and some public libraries.
Chen’s website shares her experience, views, Cuban news and more capturing the lifestyle in her book and life. Chen also leads tours for people who want a unique eclectic experience as well as specialized Cuban dance tours working with the national folkloric group – Conjunto Folklorico Nacional